I had pulled into pasture with two ponies in the trailer. As I went by I had seen the ‘pasture herd’ in the far northeast corner, their favorite spot in the West Bank pasture. I put the boys in the North 40 pasture then entered the West Bank pasture through the metal gate by the shed to check minerals. As I clanged the chain on the gate, I heard a nicker and when I rounded the corner of the shed, I discovered a pony there. Sleddale Rose Beauty, my senior Fell Pony mare, was alone and as surprised to see me as I was to see her. I gave her a treat and two hugs because I needed them; she was uncharacteristically in the mood to receive them.
My next chore was to get the feed buckets out of the trailer for the pasture herd, so I told Beauty I’d be right back with hers. Before I’d even gone through the gate, though, Beauty called urgently to her herd and trotted off looking for them. I watched her head for an opening in the willows where she could cross the river, and she was gone. By the time I’d walked across the bridge with the buckets, Beauty was intermingled with the herd as though she’d been there for hours.
It seemed strange that Beauty was alone in the shed, so here’s my guess about what happened. The twenty-seven-year-old had fallen asleep in the shed with the herd nearby, but then they headed out for the day while she was sleeping. As she’s aged, I’ve noticed she falls more deeply asleep and takes longer to come awake. I woke her up when I banged the chain on the gate, and she accepted my hugs because she wasn’t fully awake even then. By the time I left her to get the buckets, she’d regained her full faculties and realized she was alone and immediately rectified the situation. I’ll remember those wonderful hugs for a long time now that I know they came from my sleeping Beauty!
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2014
If you like stories like this one, you might also like A Humbling Experience, available internationally by clicking here.